Are you a Lawyer or a legal volunteer?
Lawyers with questions about how they can help Returning Citizens regain their right to vote are encouraged to watch the League of Women Voters of Florida’s Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Program on this topic.
Register for LWV Florida's Assisting Returning Citizens in FLorida CLE
The League is thrilled that so many lawyers are interested in working together with us on our efforts to assist Returning Citizens to get their rights to vote.
The work required is multi-faceted:
1. Conduct research into the criminal records of returning citizens to determine what if anything is owed on their legal financial obligations. Many people do not know the financial obligations from their sentences because they were focused on incarceration, parole, or probation. With your help, this research will clarify what the client owes, and may also identify criminal offenses that were pled down to misdemeanors or nol-prossed and therefore may not be subject to the voting restrictions that could be created from outstanding fines. We have had numerous citizens be able to vote once an attorney clarified that they were not felons after looking at their court records.
2. Representing returning citizens before the court in a motion for modification of their sentence, as allowed by FS 98.0175 (Florida Senate Bill 7066.) This generally involves reviewing the client’s documents relating to the conviction(s) and the fines or fees, discussing the situation with the client, filing a waiver or request for reduction of financial obligation, preparing a motion, proposed order, and other related court documentation. Although you do not need to be a litigator to help on one of these cases, you should be paired up with a litigator if you go to court with the client.
3. Assisting in Requesting an Advisory Opinion for the Division of Elections. After doing the research as stated above for a petition for modification, you would indicate why an Advisory Opinion was needed.
Examples why an Advisory Opinion may be needed: one might state the reasons why there is confusion about the records; ask which sentencing records should be adhered to if there are conflicting records; or inquire if financial obligations are still owed.
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